November 15th, 2017 at 11:36 AM ^

Yea I was more surprised at the time that Bielema would go to Arkansas than anything else.  I'm not sure what other candidates would have been a better hire for Arkansas at the time.

That being said it was always a strange fit and the writing is on the wall now for Bert.  Turns out the grass wasn't greener in the SEC.  


November 15th, 2017 at 12:14 PM ^

Hindsite is one thing but even to begin with Bielema at Arkansas seemed odd to me.  Kind of like Rich Rod at Michigan.  But it's true that once a coach has success the "fit" angle goes out the window.  Urban Meyer had no experience coaching in the south and obviously did fine at Florida (wish he was still there).

Leaders And Best

November 15th, 2017 at 12:28 PM ^

I don't think Bielema was a terrible fit. I think if he had won more there, the fans would have loved him. I don't think there was a huge culture shock there when he took over, and most of the fanbase embraced his attitude when he was hired. Everyone throws out the Rich Rod example, but Rich Rod's failures had more to do with the job he did than fit. And Bielema embraced Arkansas and its culture more than Rich Rod at Michigan.

Compare him to Nick Saban or Pete Carroll. Saban spent his entire career in the Midwest and didn't take MSU past the middle of the pack in the Big Ten. There was a lot of grumbling at LSU when he got hired. Carroll had some northern Cali roots, but he spent almost his entire career in the NFL east of the Mississippi River. Carroll was USC's 3rd or 4th choice. Both of those guys became "great fits" after they started winning. Even Urban Meyer at Florida. Meyer had spent his entire career outside of the South.


November 15th, 2017 at 1:09 PM ^

Saban's MSU performance is misunderstood.  They were hit hard by the NCAA right before he arrived and he had to work under sanctions his first four years.  In 1999 he finally got the full 85 scholarships and went 9-2.  In fact, he was considered a rising star in the ranks during that time and obviously attracted the attention of LSU (and even some NFL teams, IIRC).  



November 15th, 2017 at 3:25 PM ^

The thing about Bielema is that, as we've seen with other coaches at Wisconsin, it's sort of a machine that runs on it's own. I'm not sure Bert did a whole lot to innovate the product on the field, and so when he went to Arkansas he ran into the ceiling for a team like that. Good coaches figure out a way to overcome those limitations (Mullen at MSU sticks out), and some are just Bielema, doing the exact amount their talent provides.

Pepper Brooks

November 15th, 2017 at 2:12 PM ^

Why would Bielema leave Wisconsin for Arkansas when he was having such great success?  Does anyone really think Arkansas is a better job, other than more money?  I think Bielema wanted more money, got an offer for more money, told Alvarez he had to match it and Alvarez told him to take a hike.  Pure speculation on my part, but it sure fits the situation.


November 15th, 2017 at 4:19 PM ^

Two reasons he left:

1) Ego - he was hand picked as Barry's successor and stepped in and did well. He overestimated his abilities to obtain that level of success elsewhere

2) Money - Arkansas backed up the Brinks truck. I don't blame him for leaving because they paid what we couldn't or wouldn't. Funny thing is, if being able to pay assistants more is the magic bullet to success, why does he suck so much right now? And why is he so goddamn fat?! (unrelated question)

Most UW fans wouldn't have begrudged the guy for leaving except for the fact that he had to try and go scorched earth on the place on his way out. 


November 15th, 2017 at 5:07 PM ^

A couple thoughts...

I just don't think we have the donor support to be able to bankroll that type of spending. In the SEC if you need to pay a $10mm buyout you pickup the phone and make a call. And we're never going to be able to compete with an LSU and pay our DC $1.3mm per year. Second, many of our coaches are first, second, third year guys at their position, so they are still "proving themselves" and therefore not worthy of salaries approaching a guy like Don Brown, who has been doing it well for decades. Last, and probably most importantly, is that they haven't needed to. In the last 20 years, the Badgers are tied for 5th (with LSU) in wins in all of college football. 

Leaders And Best

November 15th, 2017 at 11:35 AM ^

The SEC West is minefield. The addition of Texas A&M really hurt Arkansas as well. If Texas A&M opens up this year, Arkansas could be the 3rd or 4th best job available in the SEC behind Florida, Texas A&M, and Tennessee. Ole Miss is probably going to be open as well.

What solid AD candidate is going to want to sign up for that? Long made two pretty good hires with Petrino followed by Bielema. I doubt the next AD is going to be able to do better.


November 15th, 2017 at 1:35 PM ^

It would definitely be 4th out of those teams you listed. And it isn't close. Florida is teh best of those, followed by Tenn/Texas A&M (either or). Arkansas would be next maybe. It might be Ole MIss if that is open too. And that is just the SEC. There are plenty more around the country that might be better than Arkansas. Not a good job in my opinion.

Leaders And Best

November 15th, 2017 at 11:37 AM ^

Leaders And Best

November 15th, 2017 at 11:39 AM ^

Leaders And Best

November 15th, 2017 at 12:05 PM ^

Alabama and Nick Saban. He has dominated the conference since coming to Alabama after several schools had just tasted success (Florida, LSU, Auburn) and utterly dominated their one of their rivals (Tennessee). I think it has drove the other schools to madness. Some think he even scared away Urban Meyer, the second most successful coach during this era.